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date: 08 December 2019

Versified Officelocked

  • Ritva Maria Jacobsson
  •  and Andreas Haug


A form of medieval Office, of Carolingian origin and common until about 1500, in which some or all of the antiphons and responsories are in verse. The vast majority are for saints’ days, but some are for particular Sundays or other feasts, including Advent, Trinity and Corpus Christi. Both metrical and accentual versification systems were used, and the verse was frequently rhymed. At least 1500 such Offices are known, some consisting of as many as 50–60 versified items (and there are countless others with only a single item); they are found throughout western Europe, including regions such as Scandinavia and Poland, whose conversion to Christianity was relatively late. (For a discussion of the overall structure of the Office, see Divine Office.)

Ritva Maria Jacobsson

No medieval equivalent exists for the modern term ‘versified Office’. Designations from the period refer to other aspects of the texts, for example, Responsoria cum antiphonis … dulcissime modulationis...

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